Dr. Dennis Gross SkincareAlpha-Beta Body Peel
30 treatment for $78
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This two-step product doesn’t come close to living up to the claim of being an “effective way to solve every skincare concern that you may have on your body.” It doesn’t solve anything, although one of the steps in this routine can cause skin problems, and the price will hurt your pocketbook.

The pads in Step 1 contain 2% salicylic acid as the active ingredient, but also contain alcohol and witch hazel, which isn’t good news because they are drying and cause free-radical damage and irritation, which is not good for skin anywhere on the body. The pads in Step 2 are meant to be applied after the solution from Step 1 has been on skin for 2 minutes. The Step 2 pads are steeped in a water-based serum containing several antioxidants and retinol. Although the Step 2 pads contain many helpful ingredients for all skin types, the jar packaging means they won’t remain stable for long after opening, so you’re losing benefits with each use rather than building on them. Interestingly, the directions for this peel tell you not to apply any products with alcohol afterward—how ironically pathetic. Clearly, Dr. Gross knows alcohol is a problem for skin, but then he went ahead and included it in Step 1 of this duo!

Last Updated:03.12.2013
Jar Packaging:Yes
Tested on animals:No
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Developed by Dr. Dennis Gross as an at-home, safe and effective way to solve every skincare concern that you may have on your body. The two-step, patented system provides a precise blend of Alpha Hydroxy and Beta Hydroxy Acids to improve skin’s tone, texture, and clarity while promoting collagen growth with gentle exfoliation to enhance the skin’s overall radiance and health. Green Tea Extract and antioxidant Vitamins A, C and E leave skin soothed, balanced, firmed and protected.


Step 1 Active: Salicylic Acid USP (2%), Other: Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance, Glycolic Acid, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract, Lactic Acid, Malic Acid, Polysorbate-20, Water, Alcohol Denat., Sodium Benzoate, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Step 2 Water, Dimethicone, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Ascorbyl Palmitate, Cholecalciferol, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Phospholipids, Soy Isoflavones, Genestein, Retinol, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Tetrasodium EDTA

Brand Overview

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare At-A-Glance

Strengths: Almost all of the products are fragrance-free; several serums and moisturizers contain a brilliant assortment of beneficial skin-care ingredients; all of the sunscreens contain sufficient UVA protection; almost all of the antioxidant-rich products are packaged to ensure stability and potency.

Weaknesses: Expensive; no effective AHA or BHA products (including the at-home peel the line is "known" for); problematic toner; incomplete selection of products to treat acne, and what’s available is more irritating than helpful; a few "why bother?" products.

As you may have gleaned from the name, dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross created this skin-care line. Based in New York City, he claims that all of his products provide "maximum results without side effects," a statement any doctor should know better than to make. For instance, a consumer would logically assume, especially coming from a doctor, that "maximum results" means the products in question really will firm, lift, tighten, plump, or peel the skin. But Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare products don't provide maximum results, not in the least, and definitely not in any of the ways suggested by the marketing copy. In fact, although Gross includes some very impressive ingredients in his products, they cannot make good on the most enticing claims he makes for them.

As for the promise of "no side effects," that is easily refuted with a simple overview of his underachieving products. A quick summary: lavender oil can cause skin-cell death, sulfur is extremely irritating and drying to skin, ascorbic acid can be sensitizing, as can retinol, and the synthetic active sunscreen agents he uses can also present their share of problems. That's not to say that all of these ingredients are bad for skin (only the sulfur and lavender oil qualify for that description), but it's foolish to make a blanket statement that your cosmeceutical-type products are free of side effects. How could he possibly know what a person may react to?

Gross also asserts that he uses cutting-edge technology in his products, a point which I concede given the number of superior moisturizers and serums he offers, all of which compete nicely with other well-formulated products. His products are expensive, but if you're going to spend a lot of money on skin-care products, you should be purchasing state-of-the-art formulas, and these do rate. Of course, this technology (read: efficacious ingredients) doesn't extend to every Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare product, but overall this is one line whose formulas have improved considerably since the previous edition of this book, and that is excellent news!

Several of the products in this line contain emu oil. While there is research indicating that emu oil is a good emollient that can help heal skin, it is not that different from other oils that offer the same benefit, such as grape or olive or even mineral oil for that matter (Source: Australasian Journal of Dermatology, August 1996, pages 159–161).

Last, please ignore the tired claim that these products are your alternative to surgical procedures and that they use medical-grade ingredients. Concerning the latter, there is no such thing; Gross uses the same cosmetic and over-the-counter active ingredients found throughout the cosmetics industry. And although his line offers some remarkable products, none of them can provide results equivalent to Botox, dermal fillers, chemical peels, or laser treatments (and definitely not a face-lift).

Note: Unless mentioned otherwise, all MD Skincare products are fragrance-free.

For more information about Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, call (888) 830-7546 or visit the Web site at www.dgskincare.com.

NOTE: In Spring 2010, MD Skincare became Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare.

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